Sheathing one of the original poles in a metal tube, screwed to it for stability, made such a huge difference. If you shake one of the original poles, it has about two inches of play. The reinforced pole barely moves and if you shake it, the whole frame shakes.
But the real work was completely replacing two of the poles. I carved end plugs out of the wooden dowels I ordered, and glued them into the ends of the metal tubes, so that I could suspend them from threaded rod. I improvised new end caps from wooden toy wheels with cork glued to them, so that I could avoid using the horrible ratchets on the two key poles: the take-up roller and the backing roller. I've left the ratchets on the quilt top roller and batting roller as I will just leave them in neutral.
Anyway, I'm conscious that the above three paragraphs are just gibberish if you are a knitting or dollshousing reader, so basically I am almost quilting! Just need to power up the machine again, oil it, and adjust the levels of the poles to try out the little test sandwich I've started to load up. And it's only taken a month. I pointed out to my husband that I was obviously not going to get the 12-foot frame out of the living room within a month like I originally promised. He frowned and said that I had better get it out of there by Christmas so that we have room for the tree - what a sweetie! It really is in the way as well.
So what else have I been doing? I have been knitting several feet of the Vertical garter edging for my Learn to Knit Afghan and am about half-way through now. It's starting to get a bit bulky for carrying around in my knapsack. It was a good mindless project to take to the London Kensington Dollshouse Festival last week though. I had a good time and bought several 1/24th scale accessories for the Greenleaf Fairfield house that I am building, plus a 1/12th scale castle-shaped teapot for my teapot collection. They were also showing some films about miniatures, so I watched some of those while knitting on my garter edging.
I've had good intentions to keep working on Project Number Five from my quilting group's UFO Challenge, which is an applique block. But I just find that the light isn't good enough in the living room - god I sound old. I need to bring down my daylight working lamp that is on my dollshouse work table.
I had a lovely squishy arrive in the post a few days ago - my first package from the I-Knit London Sock Club. I guess I had better not reveal too much in case people haven't got theirs yet. The yarn is hand-dyed by Gerard in a vivid colour which is not quite my colour but I think I could wear it, and it feels lovely. There are two patterns, one for socks and one for something else, which unfortunately had become rather battered in the post as they were just placed in the padded envelope with no protection. Gerard has posted on Ravelry that we can email him for a .pdf version so I've done that, and I will print replacements. There was also a cute extra which is also very practical. A nice surprise and I enjoyed looking through it all. I've never been in a yarn club before. I was in a fabric club a couple of times, but you quickly get too much fabric and none of it seems to go with each other. I like the Sock Club because I will get two patterns with ideas to use the yarn.